Sheffield United v Liverpool 2-1 (League match: November 14, 1903)

November 14, 1903
Match: Football League, First Division, at Bramall Lane, kick-off: 14:45.
Sheffield United – Liverpool 2-1 (2-1).
Attendance: 13,350, gate receipt £385 18s. 3d.
Referee: Mr Arthur Kingscott (Derby).
Sheffield United (2-3-5): Bill Foulke, Harry Thickett, Peter Boyle, Harry Johnson, Bernard Wilkinson, Ernest Needham, Walter Bennett, Alf Common, Arthur Brown, Fred Priest, Bert Lipsham.
Liverpool (2-3-5): Peter Platt; Alex Raisbeck (C), Alf West; Maurice Parry, George Fleming, John Hughes; Arthur Goddard, Richard Morris, Jack Parkinson, Edgar Chadwick, Jack Cox.
The Goals: 1-0 Priest (4 min.), 2-0 Brown (15 min.). 2-1 Goddard (17 min, pen)

Sheffield United were once more at full strength for this match at Bramall Lane, Liverpool, however, played Raisbeck at right full back in place of Joe Hoare, and Parry was brought into the half back line. The weather was very unsettled, and the rain just before the kick-off kept away many people, with the result that 13,350 paid for admission. (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 16-11-1903)

1st Half:
** The United won the toss, and played in the first half with the breeze at their backs.
** The first noticeable play was some clever work by Needham, nearly resulting in Lipsham scoring, but West, the ex-Barnsley man, came across in the nick of time.
** Goddard replied with a rather tricky dribble, and Thickett fouled him, but after the free kick had been taken United managed to clear their goal.
** GOAL: Bennett and Common, with persistent efforts, forced a corner, and when this was taken by the former Priest converted it into a goal, four minutes after the start.
** The Liverpool forwards then exerted themselves, and when Parkinson was getting a trifle dangerous Wilkinson fouled him. The outcome of the free-kick was that Foulkes had to handle, but saved easily.
** The United again attacked, but the Liverpool backs defended steadily, and finally Wilkinson shot outside.
** A smart advance by the United left followed, and Lipsham placed a lovely centre across close to the uprights, Bennett and Common being both too late rushing in.
** United kept up the pressure, and Priest looked like dashing in, on receiving a well-judged pass from Johnson, but he was tripped just outside the penalty area and from the free kick the Liverpool custodian had to save in the face of a rush.
** PENALTY MISSED: Then the Liverpool left-wingers sailed down again, and after Cox and his partner had beaten Johnson and Thickett Morris was beautifully placed for shooting when Boyle fetched him over well in the penalty area. Fleming took the kick, but shot straight at Foulkes, who stopped the ball, and kicked it clear, amidst great cheering.
** Shortly afterwards the fleet-footed Cox again raced down, and looked like beating all opposition, but Wilkinson had fallen back, and effected a clearance.
** With the United to the front again, there was some sharp passing to and fro in front of goal, but Liverpool cleared their lines, and again Cox spelt danger. Beautifully passing to his partner, the latter slipped the ball to the centre, and Cox raced round Thickett and shot, but in doing so went offside.
** The United right-wingers put in some more fine work, and after Brown and Priest had missed a fine centre by Bennett, Lipsham shot the ball just over the bar.
** GOAL: The United were not shaken off, however, and after a little more play in front of the uprights Brown put the ball into the net at the end of fifteen minutes.
** GOAL, PENALTY: Two minutes later Liverpool’s left-wingers again sailed down, and again Morris was pulled down in the penalty area by Boyle. This time Liverpool converted, Goddard taking the kick.
** Again Cox dashed in and shot, but Foulkes stopped the ball. He did not clear, however, and the ball rolled to the feat of Morris, who had a glorious opening, but missed the ball.
** Liverpool were back again in a few minutes, and Foulkes fumbled a shot by Chadwick, but finally got the ball away. The United attacking again Wilkinson rattled the ball against the crossbar, Lipsham shooting outside from the rebound.
** After a slight stoppage for attention to Cox, who was shaken up somewhat in a collision, United operated once more close to the Liverpool goal, but dallying by Johnson nullified the work.
** Liverpool were still having as much of the play as the United, but in their next effort Cox shot wide behind.
** United ultimately forced a corner, which was well placed by Needham, and there was a few moments of bobbing of heads in front of Platt, but the home team did not manage to score.
** Then Cox once more beat all opposition, bar the goalkeeper. Somehow Foulkes seemed to disconcert him, for he shot hurriedly right into Foulkes’ hands.
** Subsequently Liverpool worked the ball down the centre of the field, and Morris had an opening, but was hammered, and shot two or three yards wide.
** A few minutes later Parkinson made a bold bid for goal. Common and Boyle came to the rescue, however, just in the nick of time, and while the former charged into the Liverpool centre Boyle cleared.
** Once Lipsham directed a good shot into goal mouth, but out of a crush of players West got his foot to the ball first and made another fine clearance. Half-time arrived with United leading by two goals to one.

2nd Half:
** At the commencement of the second half Cox was seen to be going lame.
** Liverpool hovered about a bit in the United half until Boyle made a bad blunder, which nearly gave Liverpool a goal. After a bout of tackling against Goddard, the United back kicked the ball right to the feet of Parkinson, who was uncovered, but, fortunately for the United, he missed badly.
** Then Bennett made a strong advance on the United right. His finishing shot was only partially cleared, and Common had another shot. Platt dealt with this very weakly, and if Bowen had not been held off by the two backs nothing, it seemed, could have prevented the further downfall of the Liverpool goal.
** The visitors worked their way down towards United’s goal again, but at the critical moment Morris failed to gather the ball.
** After a fine centre by Lipsham had come to naught Priest rattled in a very hot shot, which fortunately for Liverpool, cannoned back off Raisbeck.
** Liverpool quickly visited the other end, and Foulkes saved smartly, taking the ball from Morris’ toe as the latter was rushing in to secure a forward pass.
** A short incursion by United into Liverpool quarters followed: then the visitors pressed hotly, and there were some anxious moments in front of Foulkes. Needham distinguished himself at close quarters, and Foulkes, who, was called on once or twice, defended his goal admirably.
** As a set-off Bennett put in one of his characteristically fine runs, working well into goal, but Platt saved his shot.
** Subsequently Lipsham put in a glorious centre, and Bennett, in trying to convert, hooked the ball out.
** More sturdy play on the part of Bennett roused the enthusiasm of the crowd, but he was too keenly tackled to secure any tangible result.
**A few moments later a mistake by Thickett let in Chadwick, who rushed for goal and shot just as he was tackled. The ball went in at smart pace, but Foulkes saved cleverly.
** Then the United put in more fiery work, and Platt made clever saves from Lipsham and Bennett.
** The game was now being very fiercely contested on both sides, and it was being played in a fine driving rain. Facing this, Foulkes made another capital save from Parkinson; then Morris shot outside.
** Cox manoeuvred well for an opening, and placed the ball neatly across to the right, where Morris again shot wide.
** The United had another turn, and were frequently dangerous in goal mouth, Platt being once unsuccessfully tesed.
** A few moments later Common tried a shot close to the upright, but could not take proper aim, as he was unceremoniously bowled over by Parry.
** Right up to the finish the game was sternly fought out. In its closing moments United put in more severe pressure, and West did a lot to stem the attack.
** No further scoring resulted, but just before the whistle went for time Priest rattled the ball against the crossbar, and it was finally shot outside. (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 16-11-1903)

In the Liverpool team perhaps most local interest centred in the doings of West since his transfer from Barnsley. While not wishing to be too pronounced in one’s view, the writer of these notes regarded the new recruit in Liverpool’s ranks the better of the two backs. Both did excellently, especially considering that both were playing out of their usual positions. Raisbeck is seen at his best in the half-back line, and West is a right, not a left, back. West on Saturday gave a rare exhibition of dash and judgment combined, and several times got Liverpool out extremely difficult positions by wonderful work. He is a fine defender at close quarters, though he is not by any means on the big side in build. The Liverpool forwards were a powerful and speedy quintette, especially the left-wingers. Cox, it will be re-called, is the brilliant outside left, who practically alone among the English forwards gave the Scottish defence much trouble  in the International at Bramall Lane last April. On Saturday he seemed fleeter of foot than ever, and he was the cleverest forward on the field. Chadwick partnered him beautifully, and the centre forward co-operated finely, so that it was no wonder the Sheffield defence had a warm time from this quarter. If one or two of the finishes of this wing’s work had been more accurate and stinging, the result might easily have been the other way.
(Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 16-11-1903)

Ernest Needham, Sheffield United F.C.


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